Health Policy

Retaining new dentists in Iowa: a role for dental schools in facilitating graduates' connections to practice opportunities in underserved areas.

Hoyle, D.A.; Ryan, P.M.; Hand, J.S.; Damiano, P.C.; Schneider, G.B.
2014 Apr


Like many other states, Iowa has an aging dental workforce. As this aging population of dentists retires and communities are unable to find new dentists to take over their practices, more small and rural communities lack easy access to oral health care. The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics established the Office of Iowa Practice Opportunities in 2006 to promote dental practice opportunities in Iowa for its graduates. With this office, an infrastructure connecting the college with practices and communities across the state has been developed. The Office of Iowa Practice Opportunities is the first place many students go to decide what they will do after graduation and to identify practice opportunities in Iowa. The office has exceeded the college's initial expectations and has provided significant assistance in retaining recently graduated dentists in the state of Iowa and ensuring access to oral health care in the state. This article will show that facilitating connections to practice opportunities has a place in a college of dentistry.